Choosing the best tiller for breaking new ground is important and also a challenging task because a perfect match is highly individual. There are a lot of features to consider: soil hardness, garden size, tiller types, your budget, and so on.
After testing dozens of products, including expensive ones equipped with many fancy add-ons, here are our picks for you:
Here are the best tillers for breaking new ground you can buy in 2023:
- Lightweight: Mantis 7940 4-Cycle Gas Powered Cultivator
- Easy To Assemble: Earthquake 20015
- Quiet: Honda 649680
- Easy To Start: Tazz 35310
- Durable: Earthquake 31635 MC33
- Best For Hard Ground: EARTHQUAKE 31285
|6 Best Tillers For Breaking New Ground|
|Mantis 7940 4-Cycle Gas Powered Cultivator|
Easy To Assemble
Easy To Start
|Earthquake 31635 MC33|
Best For Hard Ground
Lightweight: Mantis 7940 4-Cycle Gas Powered Cultivator
- Allow for intuitively maneuvering & easy handling – the 24-pound weight
- Fuel-efficient - the 25cc Honda 4-cycle engine
- Easily get into tight corners – the 9” width
- Hard to clean the tines
The Mantis 7940 caught up our attention for its unusual lightness and compactness without compromising the power.
While most other brands averagely weigh 30-90 pounds, it is just 24 pounds. You can easily pick it up with one hand and maneuver it intuitively. Its width meanwhile is just 9”, allowing for getting into tight corners or tilling in a yard with many obstacles with much ease.
The 25cc Honda 4-cycle engine is our favorite feature. It can reach up to 240RPM of max tine speed - which is nearly twice faster than similar counterparts - while the noise is surprisingly quieter.
Its power and lightness combined with the unique, curvy tines allow you to easily adjust the tilling depth – from 2” or 3” of the topsoil or up to 10” deep as desired.
We also appreciate that it features a foldable handle for both better handling and easy storage.
|Mantis 7940 4-Cycle Gas Powered Cultivator Specifications|
the 24-pound weight
the 25cc Honda 4-cycle engine
the 9” width
For seniors, women, young users, or people with weak arms, our pick is the Mantis 7940 4-Cycle Gas Powered Cultivator because it weighs only 24 pounds – which is also the most lightweight in the competition.
Easy To Assemble: Earthquake 20015
- Easy to assemble – come pre-assembled
- Able to finish big gardening tasks – the 99cc Viper 4-Cycle engine
- Stable – decrease center of gravity
- The muffler is prone to get rusted
- Short handles
For those gardeners who have never put a tiller together before, the Earthquake 20015 is a real relief. It comes partially pre-assembled and the remaining tasks are extremely straightforward.
But take note that as this is a heavy-duty model – nearly 4x stronger than the Mantis 7940, some parts might be heavyweight, which means you'll have to use more strength during assembly. But rest assured, it is still light enough to easily maneuver.
Earthquake 20015 features an 11” width, along with three adjustable depth options of 11”, 16”, and 21”. The max tine speed it can reach is 2,500 RPM, allowing for easy tackling of some of your biggest gardening tasks.
Regardless, this tiller is a breeze to start and very stable thanks to the low-deck design.
It's backed by the manufacturer's 5-year limited warranty, which is a big plus.
|Earthquake 20015 Specifications|
Adjustable: 11", 16" or 21"
the 99cc Viper 4-Cycle engine
decrease center of gravity
Unlike other heavy-duty tillers, the Earthquake 20015 is affordable, very easy to assemble, and extremely stable for great maneuverability.
Quiet: Honda 649680
- Low engine noise & eco-friendly - Honda 4-cycle engine
- Durable & easy to adjust the tilling width - patented Honda hybrid tines
- Effortless and easy to use – lightweight design & transport wheels
- Not for heavy works or huge gardens
Honda definitely has a reputation for creating equipment with top-notch quality and unrivaled quietness, especially their engine lines.
In terms of tilling tools, this model is a typical example.
It features the Honda 4-cycle engine that distinguishes itself with two big advantages. First, it requires no oil and gas mixing and works efficiently with the least emissions, which is friendlier to the environment.
Second, it creates surprisingly little noise that you don't need to wear ear protection as that when using other brands. You either don't have to worry about bothering your neighbors while caring for your lawn or garden.
Another notable feature is the patented Honda hybrid tines. They are not only durable but also allow for some adjustments to get a certain tilling width between 6" and 9".
The lightweight design, along with the added transport wheels, helps you to roll it around with little effort.
|Honda 649680 Specifications|
6-in to 9-inch
Honda 4-cycle engine
patented Honda hybrid tines
lightweight design & transport wheels
Of all the tillers built with a 25cc engine that we tested, Honda 649680 is the quietest that neither bothers your neighbors nor hurt your ears while using it.
Easy To Start: Tazz 35310
- Turn up smoothly and easily - a 79cc 4-cycle Viper engine
- Easily reach 11” tilling depth with no tools required – the multi-position drag stake
- Fit users of all heights – the handlebar with four height options
- Time-taking for assembly
Powerful performance and easy start-up are the two biggest strengths of this tiller. It turns on smoothly right from the first pull every time and features a 79cc 4-cycle Viper engine that can till through all soil conditions.
The max tilling depth it can reach is 11”, but what’s worth mentioning here is you don’t need to use any tools to adjust, but only a multi-position drag stake.
Its forged steel tines are built with three width adjustments – 11”, 16”, and 21” - to fit all garden sizes.
Besides, the handlebar gives four height options to fit gardeners of different heights.
|Tazz 35310 Specifications|
11”, 16” & 21”
a 79cc 4-cycle Viper engine
the multi-position drag stake
the handlebar with four height options
The Tazz 35310 is a powerful tiller that’s equipped to easily start from the first pull every time.
Durable: Earthquake 31635 MC33
- Built-to-last - industrial air filtration system & steel frame
- Bring great flexibility and controllability - two tilling depths & two tilling widths
- Easy to move around plants - throttle arrangement and overhand grip
- Offer seamless rolling experience and depth control - transport wheels with height adjustments
- Blades get dull quickly
- Unclear instructions
Earthquake has made a name for themselves with durability like the MC33 Cultivator. Compact design and powerful performance aside, it boasts a steel frame and industrial air filtration system that can stand the test of time.
The versatile design including two tilling depth options and two tilling widths allows it to optimize both user’s flexibility and controllability.
It is also easy to maneuver forward or backward around your plant’s thanks to the throttle arrangement and overhand grip.
Unlike many other brands, this model features transport wheels with height adjustments for a more seamless rolling experience and depth control. So thoughtful!
|Earthquake 31635 MC33 Specifications|
industrial air filtration system & steel frame
two tilling depths & two tilling widths
throttle arrangement and overhand grip
transport wheels with height adjustments
Are you in search of the most durable tiller for breaking new ground? Take a peek at the Earthquake 31635 MC33
Best For Hard Ground: EARTHQUAKE 31285
- Perfect for breaking new, hard ground – feature the CRT mode & 99cc engine
- Easy to roll around - solid and comfortable handlebars, well-balanced constructions & airless, big wheels with aggressive lugs
- Reliable - 5-year warranty
- Very heavy
This beast is our confident pick for breaking new, hard ground! Aside from the 99cc Viper engine and heavy-duty construction, it gives two operation modes – the standard rotating tines (SRT) and the counter-rotating tines (CRT), easily controlled by a switch.
Use the CRT mode to slice through sod, unbroken ground, or till tough soils. Use the SRT to weed or smoothen seedbeds.
Compared to other counterparts with a 99cc engine, this one is pretty heavy – weighing 160 pounds.
But we find that isn’t a big problem because it comes with solid and comfortable handlebars, well-balanced constructions, and the airless, big wheels that highlight additional aggressive lugs to claw at the ground more firmly.
Last but not least, it carries a 5-year warranty.
|EARTHQUAKE 31285 Specifications|
feature the CRT mode & 99cc engine
solid and comfortable handlebars, well-balanced constructions & airless, big wheels with aggressive lugs
The EARTHQUAKE 31285 is specifically built to not only offer superior power to other brands but is also easy to control and works reliably. For breaking hard ground, it’s the best pick.
How To Choose The Best Tiller For Breaking New Ground?
Types Of Tillers
There are two common types of tillers: rear-tine tiller and front-tine tillers.
Rear-tine models are generally more powerful than the front-tine and a big plus is that their rear rotor tines are assembled with sturdy safety cover.
From that point, it is perfect for breaking new hard ground where you’re not sure if there is any rock, root, or debris hidden down there that could accidentally swing towards you at any time. It’s also recommended for extremely poor soil conditions or extensive gardens.
The only drawback of this tiller type is its heaviness.
This model is actually the electric version of cultivators with upgraded size and power. It is very lightweight and easy to maneuver but lacks some power compared to the rear-tine tiller.
It is still able to break through the new ground, but we only recommend small- to medium-size gardens with little rocks and roots.
Whether you choose a rear-tine or a front-tine tiller, you will have to push or pull the tool, so comfort is another top priority to consider.
The tires and handle design play a huge role in this case!
You should choose a model equipped with non-flat, smooth-rolling tires and a slip-resistant handle with good grips.
Besides, a tiller coming with some tilling height options is more versatile to help you in different cultivating tasks.
Tillers can be powered by electricity or gasoline. Each of them has certain advantages and disadvantages. To find the right motor type for you, look at this comparison table:
-Less jolting and bouncing during work
-Durable & long-lasting
-No extension cord is required
-No gas or oil mixing required
-Easy to start
-Lightweight & maneuverable
-No refueling is required
-Ripcord starter might be hard to use for some people
-Heavy -> difficult to maneuver
-Probably require oil or gas mixing
-Bounce more -> require more of your effort during use
-Hassles of power cords
-Poor soil conditions
Which Brands Make The Best Tiller For Breaking New Ground?
Mantis is the world’s best manufacturer of tillers and has maintained its reputation for exceptional quality and durability. The brand has over 40 years of experience in manufacturing and continuously improving its products.
Get Earthquake is one of the longest-standing manufacturers of purpose-built power equipment in the USA. Because of owning and applying many patented innovations and technologies, their tillers are very outstanding, especially in terms of quality, durability, and functionality.
All the Honda tillers are constructed of Honda GX commercial-grade engines – which are known for decently easy starting and reliable performance. They are also famous for their advanced design that makes maneuvering a lot more intuitive.
Can electric tillers break new ground?
Yes, they can. Rear-tine tillers are powerful enough to break new hard ground in different areas.
Which is better: rear tine or front tine tiller?
Rear-tine tillers are better for large, open garden areas while front-tine tillers are for smaller areas with many obstacles.
How deep can a rear tine tiller dig?
A rear-tine tiller can dig the soil at least 8” deep.
When should you use a tiller?
Use a tiller when you want to loosen up plant soil or break up hard, compact ground.
Can you plant right after tilling?
No, you can’t.
To optimize your crops, we highly recommend you to wait until all weeds contained in the soil are dead and the soil is dry a bit before starting to sow seeds or transplant.
Do you push or pull a tiller?
It depends on the tiller type. If it has no bladed wheels, you should pull it straight out of the soil. If it has a bladed wheel, push it forward while it is in the soil.
Can a rototiller cut through the grass?
Yes, it can. Set the depth of your rototiller to 4”-6” to cut through the grass but take note that its cutting performance will not be as good as dedicated grass-cutting tools.
Is rototilling good for the soil?
No, it isn’t.
According to the University of Illinois Extension, rototilling can interrupt worm burrows and destroy soil structure, which is not good for plant roots.
As stated above, the choice of the best tiller for breaking new ground is highly individual. We can’t pick a universal one that can fit all.
What our guides can do, however, is give you the best pick on objective features, such as lightweight design, ease of assembly, quiet operation, etc., then share our unbiased impressions.
We hope that our work was helpful to you and thank you a lot for reading!